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Chester – Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner

Chester Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner

Chester

(1999), 7/10
The Chester EP pairs Rouse with Lambchop leader Kurt Wagner. Wagner contributes the lyrics, while Rouse writes the music and provides the vocals. It’s certainly interesting to hear Rouse with darker and more nuanced lyrics than his usual, and musically Chester is a little more expansive than Dressed Up Like Nebraska, even though songs like ‘Table Dance’ and ‘Somehow You Could Always Tell’ would have easily fit onto that disc. ‘That’s What I Know’ utilises a horn section, ’65’ touches a white soul sound, while ‘I Couldn’t Wait’ is subdued, with a languid harmonica the most prominent accompaniment. As with Dressed Up Like NebraskaChester is accomplished and substantial, but I still prefer Rouse’s more eclectic later albums.

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